Thursday, December 5, 2013

Don't Have a Taxing Christmas

In the bible, the Gospel of Luke tells us part of the Christmas story: "And it came to pass in those days that there went out a degree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be registered."

Actually, older versions of the bible used the word "taxed" instead of "registered." Readers though kept getting confused and thought it was some sort of an income tax fee imposed on all the people. Instead, the gospel is referring to a census taking of the people, much like our U.S. census every ten years. So, the Greek word was translated as 'registered'in our bible today. It is a better translation for us.

However, I wonder if "taxed" might be more appropriate. For many of us, Christmas is just too much. The holiday season "taxes" us physically, emotionally and financially. By the time Christmas Day is upon us, we are exhausted and only waiting until we can say: "I made it through another year."

Our Christmas feelings and expectations are usually based on holiday seasons of the past. We remember our childhood and believe that we have to have those specially made cookies, those newly embroidered stockings, the best lights on the block, and more gifts for our kids than the neighbors, so they won't feel unloved. The demand seems never-ending and each year they grow and grow... block and office parties and more gatherings get added to the list. Christmas can finally become the time of year to check items off "To Do List" and fill in calendar dates.

The Christmas season has clearly grown commercially over the years, But it can also grow religiously. We are in the midst of Advent, a time of expectation for the birth of Christ. As you prepare in worship, prepare in your homes as well. Commit a time each day to Advent Devotions.

Christ Jesus has come and we celebrate his coming again. Let us prepare to cradle the Babe in our arms and to accept Jesus into our hearts as if it were anew, for the first time. the most priceless Christmas gift is the gift of our Savior's birth.

When you feel "taxed" during this holiday season, pause, take a deep breath, thank God for sending our Savior Jesus into the world, remember the importance of Christmas, say a Prayer of Thanksgiving for the gift of the Messiah given to you, organize your thoughts, your day, and your week, and then begin again with the task at hand, knowing that its importance does not compare with that of our assurance of salvation in Jesus Christ.

May the Prince of Peace fill your homes with love.